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Interview with Romain Broutier

On the theme B2B Fintech, Romain Broutier, Financial Director at Raise talks about responsible investment. Today, ESG criteria are a must-have to help companies create a green and innovative ecosystem. With the current Tech movement, the younger generation and new entrepreneurs are engaging themselves in more sustainable finance and moving towards an acceleration of the ecological transition.

Romain Broutier

B2B Fintech

About Romain

Romain joined RAISE in 2015 as Chief Financial Officer and in charge of investor relations. Before joining RAISE, Romain was responsible for an asset management consultancy team focused on entrepreneurs at BNP Paribas Banque Privée in Nice. Romain began his career with Degroof Petercam in Lyon in the asset management and family office department. He is also President of RAISE Expansion, Secretary of RAISESHERPAS and member of the Commission Investor Relations of France Invest. Romain holds a Master 2, with a Specialization in Asset Management from the Institut Supérieur du Commerce de Paris (ISC Paris).

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Hello, my name is Romain Broutier. I have been the CFO of the Raise Group since 2015 and I am also in charge of shareholder relations. Raise is an investment and innovation group that was created by Clara Gaymard and Gonzague de Blignières in order to create an innovative and generous ecosystem to support visionary entrepreneurs to build, with them, a responsible and sustainable economy. We have 80 employees and by the end of the year, we will be managing 2 billion euros.

Sustainable Finance & ESG Criteria

Sustainable finance encompasses several practices. The first is a responsible investment. Responsible investment is what the general public is most familiar with, and that is ESG criteria. Companies or management companies like us follow these extra financial criteria to see the learning curve of our companies. The second is green finance, a way to direct capital to accelerate this ecological and environmental transition to improve waste management, water management, or act against global warming. Then there is social finance, which means investing in better social criteria, to promote employment, housing, or simply national or international solidarity.

Environnement social & Corporate Governance

The ESG criteria, Environmental, Social and Governmental criteria, are a guide for us, investors or savers, to find the learning curve of companies, but also of communities. If we have to give examples, Pillar E could be waste management, carbon emissions management, and more globally, energy management. For example, we support a company called Bird Office, which can be defined as the Airbnb of meeting rooms and which has decided to offer all its clients a way to measure their carbon emissions but also to be able to offset them with the help of the GoodPlanet Foundation. The second pillar, the S pillar, is to promote social links, promote employment, for disabled people for example, or training. In this case, we can take the example of Respire, which is a responsible beauty brand that has set up a whole range of mechanisms to encourage dialogue. And several times a year, solidarity collections. The last pillar is the G of governance, which means more transparency on the remuneration of managers and increasing the number of women in companies, especially in positions of responsibility. We are working with a company called Courbet, which is an ecological jeweler, and we are very proud to see that 57% of its management committee is made up of women.

Transparency & Easy access

ESG criteria are important for investors, but not only. Investors also need more transparency and, before that, education and, above all, accessibility. Our professional association reminded us of this recently. Between now and 2025, 10 billion euros of individual savings will be channeled into real assets. And for that, I am firmly convinced that the ESG compass will be a criterion for choosing investments.

Sustainable Tech & Performance

Historically, venture capital funds support companies that are in hypergrowth. And when you are in hypergrowth, you need to structure yourself by recruiting a CFO, a CEO, or a CDO. Today, in order to go further and accompany companies on ESG criteria, it is no longer a question of saying that ESG criteria are "nice to have”. No, it's a must-have. At Raise, we are very proud to say we created Raise Seed for Good, the first European venture capital fund to support startups in responsible tech in order to bring our investors a double performance: financial performance, yes, but also environmental and social performance.

Sustainable Tech & Transition

The ecological transition can accelerate with this tech movement. We have an extremely recent example: the government has announced the last class of 20 startups that will enter the French Tech Green Twenty program, which should accelerate this ecological transition. We, as consumers, need to go in that direction. And entrepreneurs have understood this in their business models. Today, Raise is supporting a company called Helios, which is an Ecobank and which decided to be completely transparent about the investments made with its clients' savings. Finally, the third point is entrepreneurs. We can see that since the pandemic, there is a new generation of entrepreneurs. Insee published these statistics a short time ago: 20% of them need to take up challenges and three-quarters of them are environmental challenges, from a local point of view. Also, 10% of business start-ups are based on the need to make sense. Another statistic that I like dates from 2015 on a dozen HEC graduating classes, that is to say, 8000 students. Today, a quarter of them are entrepreneurs. If this same study had been done 15 years ago, the statistics would not have been the same at all. We would be more in mergers and acquisitions or in market finance.

Finance & Philanthropy

To create harmony between finance and philanthropy, let's start with one simple thing: they should not be opposed. At Raise, we have understood this from the start, as all of our investment teams donate 50% of their profit-sharing, known as the Carried interest, to the RaiseSherpa internal foundation. Today, we are very proud of it because it has become the most important private foundation in France dedicated to entrepreneurship and with extremely simple solutions. We set up honorary loans of €100,000 at zero interest: Mano Mano benefited from this in 2015. We set up mentoring with executives from large groups. For six months, La Fabrique à Cookies was accompanied by Madame Produits Frais at Danone to prepare for their internationalization. This is our way of starting a virtuous circle of value sharing between large and small companies. We are now preparing our 2022 David and Goliath event to award a prize to this best alliance.

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